Emmabellas Believers

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Welcome to Emmabella's Believers!

Emmabella speaks at Senator Scott's press conference about the rising costs of insulin.

"My Normal, Living with Type 1 Diabetes"

     My name is Emmabella Rudd, I am 18 years old, and I am a first-year student at Florida State University. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, painting and hanging out with friends in my free time. You wouldn't know it by looking at me, but I have a chronic disease that requires 24/7 monitoring and multiple injections daily to keep me alive. I have Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed when I was 5 years old. 

     It was early October, when out of the blue I started feeling terrible, I was tired, nauseous, was using the restroom frequently, and my thirst was unquenchable. My parents noticed I was looking very thin and frail. Nothing could prepare us for the diagnosis we received at the doctors office. We didn't know too much about diabetes, we certainly didn't know how serious it was, or that it would change the way I lived my life, forever. 

     Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes suddenly, and leaves the individual insulin dependent for life.  It is believed an environmental trigger causes the body to attack the beta cells in the pancreas leaving it no longer able to produce insulin. To stay alive, synthetic insulin must be injected into the bloodstream multiple times a day or via insulin pump. 

     I was admitted into the hospital for a week to stabilize my blood sugar and my parents were educated on how to care for me with this disease. They told my parents that if I would not have made it to the hospital that day, I would have not woken up the next morning. My blood glucose was 867, normal is 100. My new normal consisted of 10-12 finger pricks a day to monitor my blood glucose, and 4-6 insulin injections. When I was little, I would run and hide from my parents when it was time it get a shot, I was so scared and it hurt so much. It was hard for me to understand why this was happening. 

     It has been 13 years now, and I have adapted to this new normal. My fingers are so calloused, I don't feel the finger pricks anymore. I now wear an insulin pump and even though the site changes still hurt sometimes, I am used to it. I also wear a continuous glucose monitor, that monitors my blood sugar 24/7 and connects to my phone. My diabetes routine is engrained in me, it is second nature. I know how important it is for me to take good care of myself, so I can live a long healthy life. I can easily calculate the carbohydrates of a plate of food, so I can dose the correct amount of insulin for each meal or snack. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, diabetes sometimes gets the best of me. 

      Insulin keeps me alive, but is not a cure. Stress, illness, and hormones often raise my blood sugars to dangerously high levels that cause damage to my organs. If I catch a stomach bug or any other illness, it is a medical emergency and often have to spend a few days in the hospital. I often struggle with low blood sugars when I am active. When I am low, it makes me feel extremely ill and helpless. I am shaky, clammy, my vision is blurry, and I cannot think straight. It is very scary, and a low blood sugar can cause me to lose consciousness. 

     My family and I decided when I was first diagnosed that we weren't going to let this disease define me, but we were going to do everything in our power to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. We formed our team Emmabella's Believers dedicated to raising funds for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and bringing about awareness for the disease. Emmabella's Believers has raised over $300,000 in the last thirteen years! 
     At the age of twelve, I was chosen Florida's Children's Congress Delegate. I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with legislators about the importance of Type 1 funding and the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, which funds $150 million for Type 1 research. This is where I found my passion for change and to use my voice. It has lead me to visit schools to tell my story, educate them on both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and encourage them to become educated about not only other chronic illnesses, but other issues in their community. I now write my own legislation and advocate on behalf of underrepresented communities. 
     Even though I wish I didn't have Type 1 Diabetes, I believe it has made me into the person I am today. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I will not ever let this disease stop me.

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